After my first week of Zoom lessons, I’m more convinced than ever that students need to be specifically taught Social English (especially small talk and conversational reactions) to be able to communicate smoothly at the beginning and end of lessons on video conferencing platforms like Zoom (even more so than in face to face lessons).
During the lesson, the language that is most likely to come up and need teaching to make communication go smoothly is asking people to wait and checking/ clarifying. Both of these points are presented and practised at lot in telephoning materials. In fact, telephoning is probably easier to teach through Zoom etc than teleconferencing/ video conferencing would be. This is because it’s difficult to be in a real video conference and roleplay a pretend video conference at the same time, but you can turn the video off while practising telephone calls to clearly mark where the roleplay starts and ends, and to provide more realistic practice than you would get in a face-to-face classroom.
Finally, you can do a whole or part of a lesson specifically on instructions for Zoom lessons, teaching both language that they will need to understand and use in future lessons, and how to use the app, as in this brand new PDF of mine:
This goes well with the language of giving instructions (perhaps as requests or with the imperative). However, I did the worksheet before and after drawing games, as drawing on the whiteboard and annotating other documents is a fair chunk of most possible Zoom class instructions. Note that the instructions which students can follow and give each other will depend a lot on what you’ve done with your Zoom settings, and this worksheet will need to be substantially rewritten if you are using different software for video lessons.
This are just my initial ideas one week into reluctantly agreeing to do online lessons, so feedback on the worksheet, more suggested classroom language, etc, etc gratefully accepted.